Some thoughts from Intel's green queen: Lorie Wigle

Here's a stat about Intel that you might not have heard: The company is currently the largest purchaser of alternative energy: an estimated 1.3 BILLION (yes, billion with a B) kilowatt-hours in annual green power usage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's latest Top 25 list.

Here's a stat about Intel that you might not have heard: The company is currently the largest purchaser of alternative energy: an estimated 1.3 BILLION (yes, billion with a B) kilowatt-hours in annual green power usage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's latest Top 25 list. That's roughly 46 percent of the company's total usage and represents a mix of biomass, geothermal, solar and wind resources.

Under the direction of Intel General Manager Lorie Wigle, who focuses on green technology for Intel and also happens to be the president of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, the giant company strives to apply green philosophy to four areas. They are:

- Sustainable manufacturing practices - Technology that strives for more energy-efficient performance - Products that are designed with the environment in mind - Policy suggestions that could change the way the entire industry thinks about green technology

Wigle figures intel has a responsibility to keep its act together with respect to green tech. After all, if you think about the number of products shipped per year that use Intel technology, the company figures is probably contributes something like 16.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. This is not great.

When it comes to addressing that contribution, Wigle's big mantra is "go managed, go mobile." There's a world of difference between the energy consumed by an unmanaged Pentium Dual Processor 945 vs. a managed Core 2 Duo Processor E6550. The estimated annual energy consumption of the former is roughly 938 kilowatt-hours consumer per year, compared with 229 kilowatt-hours for the latter. (Both stats were figured for systems using an LCD display.) A managed Core 2 Duo Processor T7700 mobile platform uses 59 kilowatt-hours per year, according to the Intel stats.

"It's not just what you buy, it's what you do with it," Wigle told me over a breakfast a few weeks back in New York City.

I'd like to offer this EDS case study, which you can find on the Climate Savers Web site, as an example of what to strive for.

So, that's mainly a client side argument. Within the data center, Wigle is evangelizing the company's EcoRack proof-of-concept design for advanced power savings, which the company worked on in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Lawrence Berkeley Labs.You can download more about EcoRack at this link. Intel is working with data center manager EasyStreet to construct a new data center that embraces some of these concepts.

Finally, for those of you seeking practical information that could help you make a case for greening your data center, here is a two-part Intel podcast that poses the question: "What If You Invested a Dollar and It Returned 10?" The topic of this discussion is pretty simple: Offering ways to use heat produced by your data center and apply it to other things (such as warming water for your corporate cafeteria).

Podcast Part 1 Podcast Part 2